After that night in Apartheid Darren became distant, closed off, cold. I had never seen him act that way, and we didn't speak for weeks. I worried about him, of course, but whenever I reached out to him, he made up some bullshit excuse not to see me. I hoped that he was okay and wasn't ill or depressed, but there was nothing I could do, so I let it go. I carried on with my dull life, doing the same work, just going through the motions.
It had been about a month when the government contacted me unexpectedly. Or, rather, it was unexpected, but unusual. The government always checked in on me, on Creatives in general, just to keep an eye out, make sure we're not planning a rebellion or what not. The government contacted me in the form of a letter. The government liked to be old-fashioned, using methods of communication that was ancient and inefficient. I think they did it on purpose to piss off the Creatives, but they of course would never admit that.
When I opened the letter I expected to see something along the lines of an appointment date or that I still hadn't turned in my peer check, but instead I got something much, much more frightening. It wasn't your standard government-issued letter written by some mindless freak who didn't comprehend what they were writing. It was a high-class official letter handwritten and stamped with ruby red wax. I almost didn't want to tear it open, because to do so would mean ruining the perfect stamp, the emblem of Cathadon. I did it anyway though, because I didn't really care.
I read slowly:
Sent from the offices of Queen Felicity Marrieta Rhinehart.
I cordially invite you to this year's annual Winter Gala, taking place at 1800 hours on Saturday, the 12th. I sincerely hope you can attend, as your presence will be much appreciated. Please respond to the aforementioned address, and arrive in your classiest formal wear. I look forward to seeing you. Take care,
I tried really hard not to gag. I clutched my chest, and I could feel my eyes straining as they reread the letter over and over again. What the fuck? I thought, utterly confused. What did business did my Leader have inviting me to a Gala? Why would she invite a Creative to the most elite ball that the government holds? Creatives aren't invited to anything, and that's okay. We usually make fun of those invited. We make fun of the anything government related, so why on earth would Queen Felicity invite me?
And then it struck me.
It's a cover. She isn't really inviting me to the classiest event held in Cathadon. She needs to speak to me. Directly. Without wandering eyes or ears. Somewhere public. Which means it must be serious. I narrowed my eyes, and nonchalantly destroyed the letter, so that nobody could ever find it. I didn't want to go see Felicity. And I really didn't want to dress up to do it. I decided to ignore the invitation, because I know that Felicity would send government agents to get me anyway, and I wasn't going to put in effort for something that was going to be done for me.
I was beginning to become nervous as the days went on about the reason why Felicity needed to see me personally, and couldn't send one of her droids to interrogate me instead. Did I do something wrong? Well, something intentionally wrong? I didn't think so, unless you counted everything that went down in the sewers, which I doubt the government cares about. Unless they do. My thoughts drifted toward Darren, and my veins filled with ice because Darren had been off ever since that night. Did Felicity contact him, threaten him? It would make sense. Darren would need a good reason to just break off contact with me, and being personally confronted by our nation's leader would be a pretty damn good reason.
I'm just about to reach for communications when the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I don't swivel to see who it is, I just relax, and let myself be taken.